University of Minnesota
minnesota writing project
center for writing

Minnesota Writing Project.Center for Writing's home page.

Cherise Storlie-Kristoffersen

Cherise reading©2012

Becoming a writer

I have never thought of myself as a writer and that is why being a part of the Minnesota Writing Project has been so meaningful to me.  It has been and continues to be an organization embodied by people who are empowering.  Empowering at every level.  The facilitators empower by challenging all of us to write and they write with us.  The participants are teachers who bravely share a window into their classroom by showing not telling us all about their best practices.  Together teachers inquire into what their own practice looks like or areas where they would like to make a change and together with other teachers reflect and also go back into their own classrooms with a plan.  A plan that is generated through collaboration with inspiration and guidance from current professional teacher literature to move practice forward and push educators to reflect on their own philosophy of teaching getting at the how and why of what happens in teaching writing.

The teaching of writing and the modeling of writing that happens in this manner at the summer institute brings a “humanness” to writing that I have experienced in no other place throughout my years of being educated or working as an educator.  Together, in a supportive environment, we are forced to “practice what we preach.” We know that to be a good writer, one must write, but teachers never have enough time and writing is often (maybe even unconsciously) left until later or an indulgence when the “to do” list is overwhelming. The space created at the institute allows you to ponder the importance of carving out time and making time for a writerly life.  The life that keeps you honest about writing.  Writing is not easy; however, by writing and writing and writing some more, sharing our craft, and taking a risk at the artistic side of writing together teachers and students in dialogue are an empowering force.  A force that can create some published writing that is nearly magical.